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November 7, 2010
Climate Alarmism at the New York Times
The New York Times editorial page has been persistent in publishing alarmist editorials on climate change. The latest one appearing shortly before the November elections accused politicians of being in "denial" about climate change. What nonsense! Climate is changing all the time; it has been doing it for millions of years -- without any human intervention. And politicians are simply trying to stay in step with the public.
There is no credible evidence at all that human activities have had any appreciable influence on global climate changes during the last century. While many scientists still believe in a major human contribution, the number of skeptical scientists has been growing steadily as the evidence against AGW [anthropogenic global warming] becomes ever more apparent.
Just ask yourself: what evidence is there to indicate that any warming over the last century is due to human influences? Not even the UN- supported IPCC has been able to point to any solid facts in favor of AGW. The latest science debate revolves around "finger prints" in the climate record. Do the observations of temperature change in the atmosphere show a certain pattern, which is characteristic of greenhouse warming? The answer is a resounding No.
Without any scientific evidence to support AGW, it is wasteful, counterproductive -- and foolish -- to institute regulations that limit the emissions of CO2, restrict the use of energy, and misdirect energy policy into such areas wind farms, solar projects, and biofuels like ethanol. For economic survival, all of these require huge subsidies. which are paid for by citizens twice over: first as taxpayers, then as energy users.
The mid-term elections have pointed up the public skepticism about AGW. Supporters of misguided policies to control emissions of carbon dioxide, through "cap and trade" and fuel standards, went down to defeat almost everywhere. California provided the big exception and now faces an economic disaster.
As reported by Cooler Heads Digest: "... the new Republican majority in the House is largely skeptical of the claim that global warming is a potential crisis and is close to unanimously opposed to cap-and-trade and other energy-rationing measures. Not only is cap-and-trade dead, but there is a good chance that the House next year will move legislation to block or delay the EPA from using the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.
The question is, can such a measure pass the Democratic-controlled Senate? There is certainly a majority in the Senate for blocking EPA, but sixty votes will be needed. My guess is that there will be more than sixty votes. As EPA regulations start to bite next year, Senators will start to hear complaints from their constituents. And a large number of Democratic Senators are up for re-election in 2012 and will want to avoid the fate of so many of their colleagues this year.
The NY Times may be seriously out of step with its own readers, At least that's how I would judge the results of a survey of readers of Scientific American, a magazine that has been just as alarmist about AGW as the Times:
**77% believe that current climate change is caused by natural processes
**68% think we should do nothing about climate change, are powerless to stop it
**90% approve of climate scientists debating the issue in public forums
**83% believe that the UN-IPCC is corrupt, prone to groupthink, and has a political agenda.
The New York Times is doing a disservice to its readers and to the US public in stoking unreasonable fears not based on solid science.
Atmospheric physicist S. Fred Singer is Professor Emeritus of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia and founding director of the US Weather Satellite Service